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Reel Bar is the real deal

Melissa Topey • Jun 19, 2014 at 1:00 PM



Visitors to the Reel Bar are likely to be greeted by adorable 5-year old Olivia Christensen.

“Hello, we're open,” the curly-haired little girl exclaims with a smile.

Such is the Reel Bar, a comfortable, friendly place with music, drinks and good food.

This new establishment, which opened in April, is a comfortable locals' bar which will stay open all year.

Islanders are encouraged to bring in their memorabilia as a loan for display.

“We want people in the community to be as proud of it as we are,” Andy Christensen said.

Andy is Olivia's father and co-owner of the bar with Ray Fogg, an islander favorite known for his music.

But this is place for the tourists as well.

Some of the music that might waft out into the night air could be from Fogg, who will play on Friday and Saturday nights.

Guests on any other day could very well see him in the restaurant.

Other artists will also be playing in the Reel Bar. All styles of music, including Zydeco, will be featured on the stage, especially if a band plays original songs.

And then there's the food

The kitchen is supervised by the talented local chef Nate Gonyer.

The menu is stocked with homemade food, and 80 percent of the dishes are made from scratch with locally-sourced ingredients.

There is the Reel Burger, made with antibiotic-free meat, and seafood selections that are grilled, not fried. 

"We try to give a little twist to our food that customers can't get just anywhere,” Christensen said.

“It's a labor of love,” Gonyer added.

Its history

The Reel Bar is in the former Tony's Place, a historic building built in 1906.

Fogg loved the building, and when it became available, he jumped at the chance to buy it.

Before he made the leap, Fogg called his friend Christensen, asking if he'd like to "come on board," Christensen said.

The men took the plunge and bought the building, then known as Tony's Garage, last year.

They remodeled the entire building, complete with new equipment in the kitchen.

They kept the bar and displayed the original Tony's Place sign in a nod to the history of the bar.


Things to notice at the Reel Bar

The new wooden tables each have a Lake Erie island burned into the top.

Nautical signal flags displayed on the inside above the doors spell out the Reel PIB Bar Ohio.

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